My February 2014

Oh dear.. Another one of this type of posts. Another month is over. I cannot believe February just flew in like that. 

I'm really grateful I do this photo challenge. I get to look back and appreciate life a little more. And it really encourages me to make every day a bit more special. 

And here is my February --


1. Me (We have a beautiful view of the Chao Phraya River from where we are tonight.)
2. Favorite (Eggs Benedict. My room service breakfast staple.)
3. Something orange (My pen for the week - Neon Orange.)
4. Childhood (Seeing the santan (ixora) flower brings back memories of my childhood in Bulacan. I would even eat the nectar of the flower as it's sweet.)
5. Square (Marbled floor at the lobby) 
6. C is for COFFEE (My favorite caramel macchiato) 
7. Utensil (I'm making cupcakes today so the whisk is my friend.)
8. Water (The pool looks inviting but the water is cold.)
9. Details (Valentine's day treats at Dean & Deluca) 
10. I am... (This is how I describe myself in all social media accounts I have.)
11. Mistake (Garrett's Popcorn just opened in Thailand. And the queue has been very long. Thought I'd try to line up when the mall just opened. It's a weekday anyway. There was a queue but not too long. I fell in line. Even made it to the store itself. I had the "golden ticket." Then I had to leave without the popcorn because I had to go home. The problem was with the bagging of the popcorn. It took forever. No wonder people had to line up for hours. Not worth it. Will buy when there's no more queue maybe a couple of months from now.) 
12. Out & about (I bring my baby with me everywhere. Today, I ran a couple of errands. He loves when he is inside the carrier. And I like him there so close to me.)
13. Perfect (It's 8:30 in the evening and these two are asleep! And tomorrow is a holiday in Thailand. No, not because of Valentine's Day. It's for Makha Bucha, a Buddhist holiday.)
14. Heart (Oh my heart! The paper heart is Javi's first Valentine's day gift to me. He came down from his school bus, took out this heart and said to me, "For you, Mom.")
15. My drink of choice (My Saturday brunch staples, coffee and orange juice.)
16. Create (A little boy overwhelmed with a box full of blocks.)
17. Vegetable (I always keep a bag of this frozen mixed veggies as it makes an excellent side dish to a number of entreé.)
18. Magic (My miracle drug. Cured my sore throat instantly.) 
19. Feet (The cutest feet in the world for me now.)
20. Peace (And love. What the world needs right now.) 
21. Funny (My two boys who always makes me laugh.)
22. An act of kindness (A sign inside the train to offer your seat to those in need. And my experience in Bangkok is the locals do offer their seat.)
23. This is where I relax (I love coffee shops and a little bit of alone time to get ready for another week.)
24. Half (Easy breakfast. Slice the bagel in half and put it inside the toaster. Best with a cup of coffee.)
25. Cut (My cling wrap. One of my most used kitchen item.)
26. Light (Sunshiny day. Hello again summer weather.)
27. My view today (Tried out a new routine today. Worked out at the crack of dawn. Here I am walking back to our unit. Mommy duties await  as I prepare Javi for school.) 
28. Reflection (Up at the crack of dawn again. I am a morning person after all.) 

I am welcoming March with open arms. I'll get to check an item from my bucket list. 

So has February been kind to you?

Disappointments

It is one of those days when I am losing my faith in humanity. I know that is exaggerated but it's how I feel.  

Bangkok Shutdown is taking too long to be over. While I do not have a say in Thai politics as I am definitely an outsider, I know that the shutdown is hurting their economy. It has done damage to the tourism and hospitality industry. Life is definitely not normal and violence is escalating. No one can foresee an ending to this. Praying everyday it would soon be over.  

While I love my friends dearly, there comes a time when my patience is being tested. Right now it is. And I'm praying to God that I can be straightforward but at the same time be loving. Because I can tell that right now, loving is the least I want to be. 

Lastly, I may have had it with the dramas of the mugging world. I intended collecting mugs to be a hobby not a replacement of my favorite TV shows. I have to remind myself again these are things. Let us not be overly obsessed with it. I have one life to live and I don't want it to be about mugs.  

For today, God tells me to breathe in, breathe out and to remember to put my trust in Him instead. Because people will really disappointment me. But He will not. 

Wow, what an assurance.


Thank God it's Friday! 


Travel Buddies

My family is going on a trip. We are now a family of four - husband, wife, toddler and baby. First time we will travel with our new set-up. Oh dear, we are in for an adventure.

Nothing can stop us from traveling. Yes, we know it's going to be tough. But that's how we make memories, right? Plus we want our sons to grow up traveling. So we promise to bring them to a different city and country every year. 

Source

And because of the following resources, it is actually easier to plan a trip now, more than ever.

A favorite is Tripadvisor


We rely on Tripadvisor's reviews for hotel recommendations, restaurants to try out and things we can do. 

Another favorite is CNNGo.

This is CNN.s Travel page. Search for a city and you will finds articles of interest. The articles are very helpful and usually the information tourists want to know about. 


I also like to consult this travel guide called LUXE City Guide.

It is a pocket size guide of hotel and restaurant recommendations, shopping places and things to do. I love how direct the details are. Too bad that the city we are visiting do not have an electronic version of the guide. Hopefully, I can still pick up a hard copy before the trip. 


I used to be Lonely Planet reader but seriously who has the time now to go through hundreds of pages. I haven't had time to finish a book in ages. So a Lonely Planet book is out of the picture for me. 

Plus everything now is available on the internet. Thank goodness for that as it is a big time saver. 

We're off to a 5-day trip next month. I am slowly filling our itinerary after consulting Tripadvisor and CNNGo. We have a baby so we cannot plan an Amazing Race kind of trip. A couple of activities per day should be fine. 

What about you, what do you use to plan your trips? I'd love to hear about them, please share in the Comments section.

This Year's (Prayer and) Fasting Experience


Fasting 2014
This year marks my 5th year of joining my church's annual Prayer & Fasting. It is an excellent thing to do at the start of the year. You get to spend time with God and then you make your plans for the year. It's always good to consult God about my plans. What I have in mind may not be what He has planned for me and my family. 

Last year was the perfect example, who would have thought my husband would end up with a new job. We did pray for Caleb though and we had him last year. 

My reason for fasting this year was not really to pray for my dreams and goals this year. I just want to spend time with God. I read somewhere that the annual prayer & fasting is a person's alone time with God. I kinda liked that idea more than faith goals being accomplished.


Our church here, Grace Bangkok Church (a member of the Every Nation network), prayed and fasted on the 21st of January until the 25th. It used to be a 7-day fasting until Every Nation divided it into two prayer & fasting - a 5-day fasting at the beginning of the year and a 3-day mid-year fasting around June. 

I've decided on a liquid fast this year. I can have my usual coffee, juices and soups. 


During the 5 days, I did not crave for solid food. My mind and heart were set on eating liquid stuff and I was fine with it. I even cooked dishes for my family and I was not tempted. I was so surprised at how strong I was. I did have energy but I slept earlier that week. I guess sleep was were I got my energy.

I went through the devotional for 5 days, seeking God and praying every chance I remember.




My take-away after the prayer & fasting, I felt refreshed. And since then I had been faithful with my quiet time. I needed that re-connection with God.  The past couple of fasting were not successful. I would be discouraged right away. So this year, I found the strength and grace to go through it.

Now let's see what God has in stored for us this year.

How about you, have you experienced prayer & fasting? I'm telling you, it is worth your time.


Facebook Look Back

I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. Most days, I am annoyed and frustrated. But some days like today, I am loving it. For it's 10th year, Mark & the Facebook team came up with a one minute personalized video for each user.

I've joined Facebook in 2007. It showed me basically what my life was in those 6 years. Talk about feeling nostalgic. I've seen myself gotten married. It showed me the most important people in my life - Jed and our two sons, my family and friends. I've gotten married, moved to Cebu, had Javi, moved to Bangkok and now we have Caleb. All that happened in 6 years. 

video

Life has been good. Thank you, Lord!

I enjoyed watching my friends' videos as well. In that one minute, you can kind of tell what type of person they are and what their priorities are. For some this could be a wake up call. 

If you're on Facebook, watch your own video and share it, go to https://facebook.com/lookback/.

Enjoy looking back at your life!

New Look for the (Lunar) New Year

I finally decided to change my blog template. The new template arrived just in time for the lunar new year. And I love it!

To compare the old and the new one, I put them side by side together.

Web version


Mobile version


I purchased the new template from 17th Avenue Designs. I also asked for a few upgrades and customization. It was all worth it. I installed the template myself in less than an hour. For those who know me, I am not techie at all so the instructions from 17th Avenue Designs are very clear.  

Hoping to blog some more in this new year!

My January 2014

I never get tired of this photo challenge from Fat Mum Slim. It'll be my third year in a couple of months. I like documenting my every day life that way. I get to think outside the box, at the same time (hopefully) improve my photography skill.


The first month of 2014 went like this --

1. Lunch (My minced pork rice dish from our favorite Another Hound Café.)
2. Begins with G (G is for garden. Found some kind of a garden next to the bagel kiosk I go to.)
3. My town (We live right in the heart of Bangkok's business district. We see skyscrapers in every angle. New ones are being built. It sucks because they blocked our beautiful view.) 
4. Word(s) to live by 
5. Found (Caught the sunrise at the gym. One of the perks of exercising early. Watching the sunrise sets me up for an awesome day ahead.)
6. Happens everyday (This little one loves when we play with him, and adores listening to his big brother. He can also play on his own which is a big relief for me.)
7. Upside down (Kitchen tip: Place sour cream or cottage cheese in an upside down position to make it last longer. Don't ask me why as I cannot remember the reason.)
8. Lucky number (I do not believe in lucky numbers or lucky anything. The number which struck me the most today is 29 as part of Ephesians 5:29. My reminder to take care of my body and keep it in shape.)
9. Natural (Adding these cherry tomatoes to the pasta dish I'm cooking for dinner.)
10. Manmade (More skyscraper. Concrete jungle.)
11. Looking down (My favorite tiramisu from Il Bolognese)
12. Colorful (The dried fruit section of the Gourmet Market in Siam Paragon)
13. Makes me smile (He smiles, I smile.)
14. 3 things (Three shirts - small, medium and large. Three elephants.)
15. Black + white (My muffin pan which I used today)
16. Sun (It was a beautiful morning in Bangkok. Temperature was 18 degrees C.)
17. Tiny (Little Miss Curiosity)
18. Happy place (Went to a spa today and had a foot massage.)
19. Breakfast (Made this very easy breakfast for my boys and it was a hit.)
20. To do list (It's that time of the year again. Prayer and fasting for my church this week. Need to write down my faith goals. What are you believing for this year?)
21. Blue (A bus ticket. Part of my Bangkok Shutdown adventure today. Took the bus after picking up Javi from school as the protest march took place near our building.)
22. Nice! (Loving the unexpected chilly weather in Bangkok. My baby can wear his long sleeve clothes.)
23. Bedtime (My nightly ritual for about 10 years now. I diligently write on my journal.)
24. My space (My little writing space at home. I do my quiet time here on weekdays.)
25. A taste of winter (This temperature is the only kind of winter Bangkok experiences.)
26. Fun stuff! (When you've got a toddler, you're in for an adventure. Today, I found his sticker on his dad's shirt.)
27. Something I bought (After hearing about the declaration of state of emergency in Bangkok, we made sure we have about 60 days worth of formula milk and disposable diapers. We have a baby and we need to be prepared just in case.)
28. Dinner (We're having barbecue chicken and steamed broccoli tonight.)
29. Window (There is this old house right across our building driveway. It stands out as it's surrounded by modern infrastructure.)
30. Best invention ever (I am a babywearer. I like my babies close to me. Used a sling during Javi's time but it hurt my back. Then I discovered Ergo Baby carrier. The reviews have been right. It is an excellent product.)
31. Polka dot (Polka dot is one of my favorite patterns. I have them all over our house. Here's a proof, my polka dot tray.)

Hope your January was awesome!

 
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